Share the road: May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

Now that temps are finally starting to heat up in Kansas, there will be a growing number of motorcyclists going for rides on the Sunflower State’s roads and highways.

With scenic views and plenty of places to explore, Kansas has a lot to offer motorcycle enthusiasts.

But as traffic begins to revert to pre-pandemic levels, drivers are being reminded once again that motorcycles are everywhere and they have just as much a right to the road as other motorists.

Every May during Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, motorists are encouraged to practice safe driving habits and following a few helpful tips to prevent causing a devastating motorcycle crash.

Motorists need to stay focused and share the road

Earlier this spring, the Wichita community suffered its first motorcycle fatality of the year when a 29-year-old motorcyclist died in a tragic crash with a pickup truck.

Wichita Police say the victim was stopped on his motorcycle on Pawnee Street waiting to make a left turn when a car being operated by an inattentive driver struck him from behind and pushed him into oncoming traffic. Despite life-saving efforts, the rider died at the scene from injuries sustained in the crash.

Unfortunately, these types of motorcycle crashes are happening more often in Kansas and across the country. According to the latest data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over 5,000 motorcycle riders died in roadway crashes in 2019, continuing the tragic trend of motorcyclists being overrepresented in fatal traffic crashes.

The problem will only continue to get worse if drivers and motorcyclists alike don’t stay vigilant about safety.

5 tips for drivers to prevent motorcycle accidents

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation and AAA have joined forces to raise awareness about the importance of motorcycle safety and safe driving habits.

Crash statistics show that more than half of all fatal motorcycle crashes involve another vehicle, and in those crashes, the motorcyclist is rarely at fault.

Approximately three-fourths of all motorcycle accidents involve other vehicles, with other drivers failing to grant the right-of-way to the motorcyclist the cause in about two-thirds of those crashes.

It’s worth noting that on average, a motorcyclist has less than 2 seconds of reaction time to avoid a collision.

With that in mind, here are 5 tips motorists can follow to help prevent a collision with a motorcycle rider:

  • Stop speeding — The faster you’re driving, the less time you will have to react to a motorcyclist at a stop, going through an intersection, slowing down, changing lanes, or pulling out into traffic.
  • Back off — A motorcycle rider might roll off the throttle or downshift to reduce their speed, which means the motorcycle’s rear lights won’t activate to provide a visual warning to drivers behind them. Never follow too closely. Experts agree that you should keep a following distance of around 3-4 seconds when traveling behind a motorcyclist.
  • Pay attention — It’s easy to miss a smaller motorcycle when you’re behind the wheel of a car, but how are you going to see a motorcyclist if your nose is buried in your phone or you’ve shifted your focus to a conversation with a passenger? Always keep your eyes on the road and stay alert.
  • Activate your signals early and often — Using a turn signal is one of the first things new drivers learn to do, but for some reason, a lot of motorists don’t bother to use them. Aside from being inconsiderate, not using your turn signals is dangerous because other road users — including motorcyclists — can’t make adjustments to their driving since they don’t know what you’re doing.
  • Beware of blind spots  — Double and triple check your mirrors and blind spots before changing lanes or backing up. Since motorcycles are much smaller than standard passenger vehicles, it’s easy for them to be obstructed by your car’s doors and roof pillars.

Motorcyclists are encouraged to wear a helmet and protective gear, enroll in a defensive driving course, be mindful of weather conditions and road hazards, and perform regular maintenance on their motorcycles to keep them in good working condition.

“Safety is important every day we ride, and Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month is a great time to emphasize our safety messages to drivers and riders alike,” said Erik Pritchard, president and CEO of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. “As we look forward to peak riding season, we welcome the opportunity to kick off a summer of safety in May.”

Bretz & Young stands up for injured riders

If you were injured or a loved one died in a motorcycle accident due to negligence, you have recourse under Kansas law to pursue compensation for your losses. Depending on the specific details of your case, you may be able to recover compensation for your current and future medical bills, lost wages if you can’t work, loss of earning capacity, replacement services, your pain and suffering, and other applicable damages.

Don’t leave it up to an insurance company to decide the fate of your case. Insurance companies are notorious for disputing and denying claims involving motorcycle accidents, and if they do make you an offer to settle, it’s most likely going to be for much less money than you deserve.

At Bretz & Young, our motorcycle accident lawyers serve as aggressive advocates for injured riders in Kansas and know how to maximize the value of claims. We literally wrote the book on Motorcycle Injury Law and take pride in fighting for motorcyclists who were injured due to the reckless actions of others.

Our case results speak for themselves — in one case, we obtained a $23 million settlement for a client involved in a serious motorcycle crash.

Find out what an experienced motorcycle accident attorney can do for you and contact us today for a free case consultation.

Most drivers exceed the speed limit despite the risks, study finds

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know how dangerous speeding is. Speed-related crashes account for roughly a quarter of all Kansas traffic fatalities. Drivers who exceed the posted speed limit have less time to stop or react to an impending crash. For instance, a speeding driver will have a difficult time avoiding a crash when highway traffic suddenly comes to a stop or when a pedestrian is crossing the street. Additionally, the faster a driver travels, the more serious the damage and injuries will be when a crash occurs.

survey conducted by SurveyGizmo in October 2020 found that drivers still travel at dangerous speeds despite knowing the risks. The survey involved more than 1,200 drivers age 18-85 across the United States and was published on the insurance marketplace site The Zebra.

Most drivers admit to speeding

The survey concluded that 87 percent of drivers have driven too fast a few times within a year, yet 82 percent agreed that it’s risky. When asked how they felt about speeding:

  • 35% of participants said that it is never acceptable to speed.
  • 79% believed that it’s only unacceptable in school zones.
  • 64% believed that it’s never acceptable when a child is in the car.
  • 16% said they don’t speed if they feel that their safety is in jeopardy.

Not surprisingly, survey respondents didn’t consider speeding as the number one risky driving behavior. Instead, drunk driving, distracted driving, and road rage were seen as more dangerous by most respondents. In reality, speeding was ranked the most dangerous driving behavior with a crash fatality rate of 17 percent (based on crash data). That was followed by drunk driving (10 percent fatality rate), road rage (5 percent fatality rate), and distracted driving (5 percent fatality rate).

Common injuries caused by speed-related crashes

The posted speed limits we see on roads and highways are there for the safety of all road users. Yet some drivers view them as a mere inconvenience and never recognize the risks they take until they cause someone’s injury or death. Those who survive high-speed crashes often must undergo surgery and months of physical therapy. Some never make a full recovery. The most common injuries we see at Bretz & Young are:

  • Serious head injuries
  • Bone fractures
  • Debilitating spinal injuries
  • Internal organ damage
  • Paralysis
  • Amputations
  • Long-term nerve damage

Why hire an attorney after a speed-related crash?

If you or a loved one sustained injuries in a crash caused by a speeding driver, there should be no question as to who was at fault. Unfortunately, determining fault and pursuing a claim isn’t as easy as it sounds. The story could change very quickly and evidence can disappear. Additionally, the at-fault driver’s insurance company may try to shift the blame on to you or try to offer you less money than you’re eligible for.

It’s critical that you take your case seriously from day one. Get prompt medical attention, even if you feel fine. You may learn that you sustained an injury, but didn’t feel any pain due to adrenaline and shock. Then, speak to an experienced Kansas car accident lawyer at Bretz & Young. We can help sort out your case and gather the evidence we need to prove that the other driver was at fault. We’ll also deal directly with the insurance companies and negotiate for a fair and full financial settlement.

When you hire our law firm, you can count on us to fight for the best possible outcome for you and your family. Contact us online or call us to set up your free and confidential case consultation.

Kansas highways getting more dangerous, according to KHP

Traffic fatalities in Kansas have been on the rise — not only in 2019, but also in 2020. Statistics released by the NHTSA showed a 1.5 percent increase in traffic fatalities across Kansas from 2018 to 2019, while most of the nation saw a slight decrease. The rise in traffic fatalities didn’t stop because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to KSNT, there were 367 traffic fatalities in 2020 throughout Kansas as of November 11th — yet the total death toll won’t be released by the NHTSA for another year. That still accounts for five percent more road deaths than the same time in 2019.

Kansas Highway Patrol blames distracted driving, speeding and deer crossing for more accidents

Kansas Highway Patrol (KHP) Superintendent Colonel Herman T. Jones believes distracted driving is to blame.

At 55 mph, texting and driving for five seconds is the equivalent of traveling more than the length of a football field with your eyes closed.

“A lot can happen in that time,” said Jones.

Distracted driving continues to be a leading cause of serious and fatal crashes. This is despite texting and driving being illegal for Kansas drivers. Inattention isn’t just limited to cellphones, however. Any activity that takes drivers’ hands off the wheel, eyes off the road, or attention away from driving can significantly increase the risk of a crash.

In addition, KHP Lieutenant Candace Breshears cited an increase in speeding since the COVID-19 pandemic started in March. The rise in dangerous speeding during 2020 was believed to be caused by a lack of traffic congestion. This was due to pandemic guidelines. Law enforcement officers across the U.S. have caught drivers traveling at speeds greater than 100 mph, which is more than enough to cause a serious catastrophe.

Many of the fatal crashes this year have involved deer crossing the road, according to Kansas Department of Transportation traffic safety program manager Chris Bortz. Some drivers swerve to avoid hitting a deer and end up driving off the road or causing a head-on collision.

“Right or left, doesn’t matter. Obviously, if you’re leaving left, you could be impacting another vehicle. Right, you’re going to get in an area that was not meant for driving, so once again, stay in your lane and hit the deer,” said Bortz.

Drivers have a duty to stay attentive and use caution on Kansas roadways

No matter what the conditions are, drivers still have a duty to uphold to others on the road. You or a loved one may have been injured in a crash due to someone else’s negligence. It is important that you know your rights. Don’t let the insurance companies dictate the outcome of your car accident case.

The legal team at Bretz & Young Injury Lawyers knows how to look for the facts and help injured motorists build strong cases. You may be dealing with whiplash or a catastrophic injury. We’ll work to place an accurate value on your case and fight to help you get the compensation you deserve. We have law offices conveniently located across the state of Kansas and offer free legal consultations for all injury claims. Contact our law firm online or call one of our offices to get started.

Common types of crash-related injuries that require surgery

Crash-related injuries range from minor to severe and sometimes won’t heal without surgery. Even if you manage to walk away from a crash without any immediate pain, you may later learn that you sustained an injury that requires surgery. Learning that you need surgery is often a frightening experience. In addition to a costly and lengthy recovery, you may be out of work and unable to earn a living until your injuries heal.

Our attorneys discuss the most common types of injuries that result in crash victims needing surgery to make a full recovery. If you’re unsure about what course of action to take after a crash, reach out to an experienced Kansas car accident attorney who can help you weigh your legal options.

Traumatic brain injury (TBI)

TBIs result from blows to the head or violent shaking that causes damage to the brain. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), car accidents are the second leading cause of TBIs, accounting for 20 percent of them. Most crash-related TBIs, such as concussions, are relatively minor and can heal with minimal treatment and long-term rest.

Severe TBIs that often require surgery include:

  • Open-head (puncture) head injuries
  • Skull fractures
  • Brain hemorrhages (internal bleeding)
  • Brain hematomas (brain swelling)
  • Diffuse axonal injury (twisting or shifting of brain tissue within the skull)

Compound or multiple bone fractures

A compound fracture occurs when the force of a crash causes a bone to break into two pieces. Sometimes, bones shatter or break in multiple places. During surgery, a surgeon realigns the bones and installs pins, screws and metal plates to hold them into place. After surgery, it can take a minimum of 6-8 weeks for a broken bone to heal. It could take longer, depending on the overall health or age of a patient.

Injuries to the neck, back and spine

The impact of a crash often causes injuries to the neck, back and spine. Sometimes, discs become herniated or vertebrae become dislodged. Crash victims often suffer severe pain, weakness and loss of mobility when damage is inflicted on the spine. Surgery is often required to restore mobility and prevent permanent damage to the spine. Common types of spinal surgery include:

  • Spinal fusion — merging two vertebrae together
  • Laminectomy — removing parts of vertebrae to treat spinal stenosis
  • Foraminotomy — removing parts of vertebrae to reduce pain caused by a compressed nerve
  • Diskectomy — removing part of a disc to treat a herniated or slipped disc

Internal injuries

Injuries to internal organs are often life-threatening and result from violent shaking, blunt force trauma or penetration injuries. The most vital organs include the lungs, heart, liver, spleen and kidneys. Damage to these organs often requires prompt emergency surgery. Otherwise, they can get worse and lead to serious health complications or death.

Soft tissue injuries

Sprains and strains to the muscles, tendons and ligaments may heal with minimal treatment and rest. When soft tissue becomes torn during a crash, it often won’t heal on its own. People who sustain soft tissue injuries often experience intense pain, swelling, bruising and loss of mobility.

Contact our Kansas law firm for help with your surgery claim

If you were injured in a crash caused by another driver’s negligence, the experienced attorneys at Bretz & Young Injury Lawyers can help you get the justice you deserve. Our legal team can launch a thorough investigation into your crash and work with the other driver’s insurance company for a fair financial settlement. You only need to focus on your recovery. In addition to your medical expenses, we’ll help you get compensated for wage loss, property damage, pain and suffering, and other damages.

There is no need to worry about the cost of hiring an attorney. Our law firm offers free and confidential legal consultations and we operate on a contingency fee basis. That means you don’t pay unless we win your case. We serve clients across the state of Kansas. Contact us online or call us to find out how we can help you.

County Officials Seeks Infrastructure Changes for High Accident Area

Reno County, which is located just northwest of Wichita, had a total of 1,274 crashes in 2017, according to the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT). Nine of them were fatal and another 267 resulted in injuries. Statewide, there were 58,829 crashes.

In order to help bring these numbers down, the Reno County Commission recently approved an initiative that could potentially reduce the number of serious crashes.

How Reno County is leading by example

Reno County transportation officials seek to implement a local road safety plan as part of a new requirement of the KDOT to receive funding for road construction projects, The Hutchinson News reports.

The safety plan includes an engineering agreement between county officials, KDOT, and Wichita engineering firm Kirkham Michael & Associates. The purpose of this plan is to identify roadways and intersections with the highest crash rates throughout the county and devise a strategy to make improvements.

“Any intersection that we have or curve that we have,” said Public Works Director Dave McComb. “We look at the accident rates and also a list of countermeasures appropriate for those routes.”

McComb anticipates that this effort will take between a year and 18 months to complete. It will also cover all major and minor collector routes throughout the county.

After an extensive review of the crash history of a certain area, about 90 percent of the costs could be covered by state and federal funds. The rest could be covered by local sources. Getting the funding, however, isn’t easy, according to McComb.

“You’re not going to get funding without a safety plan,” he said.

Are infrastructural changes effective enough at curbing serious accidents in Kansas?

The state of Kansas could take some cues from Reno County officials. Intersections, in particular, are a dangerous place for Kansas drivers. According to KAKE, two people were killed in a fiery collision at an uncontrolled intersection in Finney County over the summer.

An intersection on U.S. 50, just north of Sylvia, has also caught the attention of KDOT after two fatal crashes occurred within a 50-day period, according to The Hutchinson News. Following a deadly crash in May, KDOT’s Traffic Engineering Section was requested to look for any changes that need to be made to the intersection.

Infrastructural changes on Kansas roads may help lessen the severity of crashes and sometimes prevent them entirely. Serious and fatal crashes are almost always caused by driver negligence, however, such as speeding, driver distraction, alcohol and drug impairment, and drowsiness.

If you were injured in a crash or lost a loved one because of someone else’s reckless actions, speak to an attorney at Bretz & Young Injury Lawyers as soon as possible. We have a reputation for successfully representing injured motorists across the state of Kansas and have the case results to prove it. Don’t hesitate, contact our law office today and set up your free consultation.

Kansas Attorneys Offer Best Ideas to Prevent Crashes in School Zo

Students throught Kansas recently went back to school. That means a sharp rise in child pedestrians and bicyclists, increased traffic in school zones, and school buses that make frequent stops. Many drivers, however, are still adjusting to the change.

The greatest risk children face at the beginning of the school year is in school zones and at bus stops. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 264 fatalities across the United States related to school transportation. Approximately 203 of those deaths involved children walking, waiting at a bus stop, riding a bicycle or riding in a car.

What can be done to reduce crash risks in school zones?

Last month, the Wichita Police Department teamed up with the American Automobile Association (AAA) to raise awareness of school zone safety, according to KWCH12. This effort involved placing signs around Wichita elementary schools warning drivers to slow down. The signs read “School’s open. Drive carefully.” According to AAA, this effort is conducted each year in conjunction with Wichita Public Schools.

“We actually do this every year around back-to-school time to make drivers aware that kids are going to be back on the roads,” says Shawn Steward with AAA Kansas. “Be extra careful. Be extra vigilant of those kids.”

Wichita Police Sgt. Steve Yarberry also warns drivers to be cautious in areas where kids are walking, especially around crosswalks.

“You’ve got kids all over the place around schools,” Yarberry says. “They’re running out in front of traffic.”

Many of the crosswalks in Wichita school zones are equipped with flashing lights to alert drivers to slow down or stop. Unfortunately, according to Yarberry, some drivers choose to disregard these flashing lights.

“You’ll see the lights start flashing and people speed up to try to beat it because they don’t want to sit there for the red,” Yarberry said.

In addition, Yarberry warns that it’s common for drivers to pass school buses, even when the stop arm is extended and the red lights are flashing.

Shockingly, reports that more than 1,000 Kansas drivers have ignored school bus stop arms during a one-day test conducted in April 2019. Since the test only involved three-quarters of Kansas school districts, that number is likely much greater. State law requires that drivers stop in both directions when a school bus has its stop arm extended.

What can you do to stay safe?

Crashes in school zones are preventable when drivers, students, and parents become aware of the potential risks. The NHTSA offers some tips on how crashes can be prevented:

  • Ensure that a child arrives at a school bus five minutes early, remains five steps away from the curb, and only boards the bus when it is safe to do so.
  • Ensure that children under the age of 10 are accompanied by an adult or guardian.
  • Encourage walkers to always use sidewalks and crosswalks when available.
  • If no sidewalks are available, walkers should stay on the edge of the road facing traffic.
  • Walkers should avoid distractions and look both ways if no crosswalk is available.
  • Bicyclists should always wear properly fitted helmets, avoid distractions (such as electronic devices and headphones), and ride in the same direction cars are traveling.
  • Teen drivers are expected to keep distracting items out of reach and avoid risky driving behavior.
  • All other drivers must reduce their speed, be prepared to stop, and stay attentive.

If you or a loved one was hurt in a school zone crash because of someone else’s reckless or careless behavior, speak to an experienced Kansas attorney at Bretz & Young Injury Lawyers and find out what legal options are available to you. You can schedule your free consultation today by contacting us online.

Dangerous Wichita Road Raises Safety Concerns Among Residents

Are you familiar with 13th Street in Wichita’s Riverside neighborhood? If you are, you may know that it is among the most dangerous parts of the city in terms of driving. One particular intersection and stretch of 13th Street has raised safety concerns among residents, according to KWCH12.

Incidents that prompted a call for change

“A couple of weeks ago,” said one resident. “There was that hit-and-run. A guy on a motorcycle got hit by some kind of work truck and the truck just sped away.”

Another resident reports that she was at a crash scene at 13th Street and Woodrow involving a car and a motorcycle. The motorcyclist was seen underneath the car – with not a single bystander stopping to offer help.

“The first thing that I did was ask him what his name was and I grabbed his hand and let him know someone was here with him,” she said.

This incident prompted the resident to act. About a year later, she started a petition and began collecting signatures to urge city officials to devise a solution.

“If nobody takes action and all we’re doing is thanking those who help us after the fact, then we’re going to continue to have this problem,” said the resident.

Actions taken by the city

Her petition caught the attention of City Councilwoman Cindy Claycomb, who cited a traffic study that is now in the works.

“We’d already been working on a traffic study, looking at traffic counts, a compilation of crash statistics,” she said. “So, we’re in the process of making that happen.”

In addition to analyzing the dangerous stretch of 13th Street, the traffic study will scrutinize a series of dangerous blind curves further north.

“The curves are beautiful because they go along the river, but those curves make it difficult for people to see sometimes when they’re trying to turn left,” said Claycomb.

Actions you can take after a crash

If you were injured in a crash, it’s crucial that you start building a strong claim from the beginning. Take photos of the crash scene and speak to witnesses if you’re able to. Seek immediate medical attention, even if your injuries seem minor.

After that, talk to an experienced Kansas car accident attorney as soon as possible. The attorneys at Bretz & Young Injury Lawyers are dedicated to helping injured motorists across the state of Kansas maximize their compensation.

Can 3D Crosswalks Prevent Pedestrian Accidents? Kansas Attorneys Discuss

Pedestrian accidents happen far too often throughout the state of Kansas, especially in large cities such as Wichita. Unlike drivers in cars, pedestrians don’t have vehicle frames, airbags, and seatbelts protecting them. Injuries sustained in these accidents are often serious and potentially even fatal. 

Pedestrians are often struck by distracted drivers, speeders, reckless drivers or drunk drivers. Many crosswalk markings in the road are ignored and even faded. That’s why one Kansas community has devised a new and creative way to improve the safety of pedestrians. 

Kansas’s first 3D crosswalk

City crews in Kansas City, Kansas recently installed a 3D crosswalk that appear to be floating, according to While the painted crosswalk might look pleasing, it may also serve another purpose –  improving pedestrian safety.  

City Traffic Engineer Lideana Laboy says, “We’ve been working with this neighborhood about improving safety because there are a lot of kids that play around here, and they want to keep the speed low.” The optical illusion design was inspired by a similar design in Iceland

The purpose, according to Laboy, is to “bring the attention to the driver that this is a crossing location, and for pedestrians, we want them to know this is where you should cross the street to be safe.” 

The 3D crosswalk was installed at the intersection of Augusta and Northridge Drive in Kansas City’s west end, which has a 30-mph speed limit. One resident says the speed limit isn’t enough, particularly because blind curves and hills can make it difficult for drivers to see what’s ahead of them. Additionally, a school at the top of the hill may be difficult for drivers to see, putting children at risk of being struck. 

Plans to install more 3D crosswalks will depend on input from residents. 

Injured in a pedestrian accident, contact our law firm 

We applaud the work of city crews in KCK and hope that this creative solution will be an inspiration for other communities to take steps to protect pedestrians. That being said, while 3D crosswalks may increase drivers’ awareness of pedestrians, accidents may still occur. Some drivers may fail to see the 3D design due to distraction, intoxication or falling asleep at the wheel. 

If you or a loved one was injured in a pedestrian accident in Kansas, you need a strong legal advocate on your side. The attorneys at Bretz & Young have seen the devastation a pedestrian accident can cause to victims and their families. We are dedicated to holding negligent drivers accountable and helping injury victims seek the justice they deserve. We also have the case results to prove it. Contact us today to find out how we can help you. 

The Dangers of Defective Farm Tractors

Operating a farm tractor can be extremely dangerous, even for those who are experienced. If a piece of equipment malfunctions, and accident can happen that leaves someone seriously hurt. 

That’s exactly what happened to a Reno County man who was planting wheat. The man was operating a tractor pulling a 30-foot “no-till” drill. He reportedly got off the tractor and began spreading the wheat seed. The tractor was designed to automatically shift into park when there is nobody in the driver’s seat. However, the shift feature malfunctioned, and the man was run over by the tractor. The man was airlifted to Wesley Medical Center in Wichita, where he was listed in critical condition.  

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that farming is one of the most dangerous occupations. In 2016 alone, 417 farmers and farm workers were killed in work-related accidents. The majority of these deaths were attributed to transportation incidents. According to the National Agriculture Safety Database (NASD), accidents involving tractors are the leading cause of death among farm workers. 

Filing a product liability claim 

If you were hurt in an accident involving farm equipment that failed to do what it was designed to do, you may be eligible for a product liability claim. This means that you can sue a farm equipment manufacturer or distributor for a dangerous defect. However, one of three factors must apply: 

  • The equipment design itself resulted in the accident; 
  • The quality of the materials used to manufacture the equipment was inadequate and caused the accident; or 
  • There was a failure to warn the operator of potential hazards. 

Common injuries caused by defective products include (but are not limited to):  

  • Broken bones 
  • Head injuries 
  • Spinal injuries 
  • Cuts, bruises and lacerations 
  • Organ damage 
  • Paralysis 
  • Death 

The attorneys at Bretz & Young have decades of experience representing injury victims across the state of Kansas. We understand how devastating a farm tractor accident can be.  

If you were injured in an accident that may have been caused by a defective product, contact us today to learn more about how we can help. 

Farm Machinery Traffic Accidents a Summer Risk in Kansas

Kansas motorists will face the added risk of slow-moving tractors, combines and other farm machinery through the autumn harvest season.

The Miami County Republic notes tractors, combines and other equipment are required to display slow-moving vehicle (SMV) reflective triangles and hazard lights when traveling on public roads. The signs signify that the equipment is moving at less than 25 miles per hour, alerting road users of the potential risk.

Farmers must ensure SMV signs are clean and visible and that hazard lights and reflectors are not blocked by machinery. Motorized equipment traveling after dark must also have working headlights.

Safe Traveling Around Farm Machinery

The Kansas injury lawyers at Bretz & Young know traffic collisions involving farm machinery are complex cases that often result in very serious or fatal injuries. Motorists who collide with combines or other large pieces of farm machinery face risks similar to accidents involving tractor-trailers or other large commercial vehicles. However, unlike commercial drivers, Kansas farmers enjoy a host of exemptions that permit them to bypass commercial-driving requirements, including hours-of-service, log-book requirements and medical certificates. These rules, which are meant to protect the safety of other motorists on the road, do not apply to farmers operating farm machinery on Kansas roads located wholly within the state, according to the Kansas Highway Patrol.

Many crashes involving farm equipment are rear-end collisions, wherein a motorist comes up behind slow-moving machinery while traveling too fast to stop. Thus, slowing down may be the best thing you can do on the rural roads of Kansas. The Republic notes the increasing prevalence of large farming operations means more and more farm equipment is on the road while traveling to distant fields.

A study by Great Plains Center for Agricultural Health found the majority of these crashes occur during the harvesting season, from September through December. Most occur during daylight hours in clear weather. The 5-year study found nearly 3,000 were seriously injured and more than 160 killed in collisions with farm machinery in Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

The Kansas Department of Transportation reports more than 100 collisions a year occur between farm machinery and passenger-vehicle traffic.

Liability for Accidents with Farm Machinery in Kansas

Safe passing is critical when dealing with slow-moving farm machinery. Injured motorists may pursue a claim for damages against a farmer determined to be negligent in causing or contributing to a collision. However,  K.S. 60-258a outlines contributory negligence under Kansas law, which may reduce the plaintiff’s damage award in cases where the injured victim is found to be partially at fault.

Claims of negligence against a farm machinery operator and/or his employer may include general negligence, gross negligence, recklessness, willful or wanton conduct, negligent hiring and retention, negligent entrustment and vicarious liability. If you have been injured in a crash with farm equipment, you should consult with an experienced attorney at Bretz & Young Injury Lawyers.